Dining At Chez Pierre

2003, University of Texas at Austin, Transmedia, Prof. Mike Smith

(click to see film if you got here through a search and not the gallery)

All I really should say about this is that it was a final exam equivalent in this class, and the idea for it was conceived of at 3am, filmed by 4am, and edited by 5am, all on the night before it was due. I bet you're still wondering what in blazes it was supposed to achieve, though, so I guess I'll have to tell you.

This was part four of a cumulative performance art assignment. The first part was "Do an action that has a beginning and an end, uses props, and is at least three minutes long." For this, I inflated some small balloons, only semi-successfully, tied them to a string, and wore them as a belt (don't ask--you'll be happier that way). The second part was "Substitute something in for one of the props, and do a variation on the first action." For this I very slowly and deliberately put long, uninflated balloons on each of the fingers on one of my hands and recited a rhyme about an octopus ("Octopus, octopus, aren't you fine?/Octopus, octopus, now you're all mine!"). The third part was "Add a new element to the previous action." For this I created the limp balloon octopus again and also a friend for him this time, both supposedly on leashes and under my control, but they put their heads together, plotted against me, and got the best of me by dragging me across the room.

The fourth part was "If the previous action was a public action, put it in a private setting instead, and if it was a private action, make it public." Considering that I was playing very oddly with some balloons, I figured this was pretty private, so I made it public by taking the concept of 'playing with toys in the most idiotic and embarrassing way possible' and put it in the middle of a fancy dinner setting. In lieu of performing it in class, I chose to videotape it, since I didn't think I could trust myself to keep a straight face if I had to do it in person. My Prof.'s reaction to the piece was, "This is college?!?"